2023 NBA free agency: Will Los Angeles Lakers keep Austin Reaves?

Will Los Angeles Lakers keep Austin Reaves

March 19, 2023 – Austin Reaves had himself a night with a career-high score of 35 points to push the Los Angeles Lakers over Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic. The Lakers are back in playoff contention as they are again in the 9th seed in the Western Conference. With LeBron’s return still questionable, Reaves stepped up and carried the team in a close matchup. With how effective and reliable he’s been, should the Los Angeles Lakers re-sign Austin Reaves this offseason?

The Lakers found a diamond in the rough by signing the undrafted guard in 2021

Unfortunately, the scoring guard out from the University of Oklahoma did not get drafted back in 2021. But, that did not stop him from chasing his NBA dreams. Months after the NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers called Reaves and signed him to a two-way contract. Eventually, he found his home with purple and gold as he signed a standard contract for a rookie.

Austin Reaves University of Oklahoma
Photo Courtesy of University of Oklahoma Athletics

As a senior at Oklahoma, Reaves was averaging 18.3 points, 4.6 assists, and 5.5 rebounds. Though he is relatively new to the league, Reaves has already shown flashes of being a reliable scorer. Just like in his college days, the young gun is a walking bucket.

Austin Reaves is currently on a 2-year $2.48 Million contract with the Lakers. However, the 24-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2022-2023 season.

As an unrestricted free agent, Austin Reaves can go to any NBA team who would want him. There have been reports of numerous teams taking interest in the up-and-comer but there are rumors that Jeannie Buss and the Lakers want to keep Austin Reaves. According to a revelation by Michael Scotto of Hoopshype, “The Lakers can offer him up to four years, $50 million”. Similar role players – before Austin Reaves came – like Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker received a huge bag after showing glimpses of huge potential. Although Caruso is a great 3-and-D guy, we couldn’t say the same for THT who became a huge disappointment.

Lebron James and Austin Reaves
Screengrab Courtesy of Daniel Li (via YouTube)

Surely, Reaves will be getting his biggest payday so far at the end of this season. His numbers are up and he has been a key piece for this Lakers team. This season, he has averaged 12 points, 2.9 assists, and 3 rebounds while shooting 51.8% on the floor. Although he looks like a scrawny kid, the guy is a scrapper and hustles on every play, something LeBron James really loves about him.

Los Angeles Lakers are still hanging by a thread and holding their hopes for a playoff appearance

The biggest hurdle they’re facing is the absence of the King, LeBron James. LBJ’s return is still questionable after an apparent food injury last month.

There is no timeline for LeBron James’s return yet but the Lakers’ head coach, Darvin Ham, is optimistic the 38-year-old superstar will return to the court just in time for the playoffs. They still have 10 games left before the regular season concludes. Hopefully, they keep their momentum until LeBron fully heals his foot.

Does Austin Reaves deserve that huge payment this offseason? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. For more content, stay with us, here at Spiel Times.

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